Thursday, November 23, 2017

5 Thanksgiving Questions

The purpose of this BLOG is to appreciate the Friday night dinner table. Please print and share (+ like it, tweet it, forward).
Thank-you-word-cloudHere are a five questions for your thanksgiving table:

Q1. Why is it that every year, someone asks me, "Do you guys do Thanksgiving?"

What I think they mean is, "Do you guys eat turkey on the 4th Thursday of November?"

Well no, we don't. But just saying "No," sounds sour, even dour — not to do Thanksgiving? That's more austere than not doing the 4th of July.

I don't want to be a spoil-sport, so I asnwer the question that I wish they were asking: "Do you guys ever pause as a family to eat a special meal and talk about what you're thankful for?"

And the truthful answer to that is of course, "Yes, every Friday night!"

Q2. Is there any way to answer that without (a) giving a speech and (b) sounding smart-alecky (c) just saying "no"?

Because I actually mean it. We really do eat a special meal every Friday night and talk about (among other things) what we're grateful for.

Oops, I said "grateful" not "thankful".

Q3 - Is there a difference?

Q4 - Why turkey? They ate turkey so we have to eat turkey?

Would it be so bad to have a Thanksgiving pizza? Or Thanksgiving hamburgers? Or a red beans and rice Thanksgiving? How about a Chinese Thanksgiving? Or in the spirit of the times, an African Thanksgiving?

This is a serious question: Why do Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving like Jews eating matzah on Pesach?

The answer goes like this....

First of all, they probably didn't eat much turkey. At that original Thanksgiving in 1621, they apparently ate mostly venison.

Imagine you are on the boat with Columbus.

(Maybe you're even a Jewish refugee
from the Spanish Inquisition.)

Of course, you and all your geographically-challenged buddies think you're in Asia.

It's a strange world! Strange people, fauna and flora.

And you see this funky chicken.

The Wampanoag Indians call it neyhom.

What do you, O Spanish sailor, call it?

Remember, it looks vaguely like a chicken and you think you're in India, so you call it "Indian chicken."

Are you with me so far?

French explorers agree that it looks like a chicken and they call poulet d'Inde (Indian chicken), later shortened to dinde (pronounced "dand").

English settlers think it looks more like a Turkey pheasant than a chicken, so they call the bird turkey.

Jewish explorers side with the French and call it tarnegol hodu — "Hindu chicken" — later shortened to hodu.

What's interesting for us is that the Hebrew word HODU also just happens to mean "give thanks."

So back to our question: What food should you eat on hodu-day? Hodu, of course.

Now ask somebody Jewish: You're Jewish? Can you explain what "Jewish" means?

I don't mean the religious or cultural meaning; I mean the etymological meaning of "Jewish".

Look it up. It means "a state of being thankful".

If you're living up to the name "Jewish" then you are living in a state of being thankful.

I assume that means every day. Make that every moment.

That's a lot of hodu to stuff yourself with.

Question for the table: How do you do it? Every day, every moment?

Say the rabbis: every moment is too hard, but once a day is not enough.

Try this compromise: try to pause 10 times a
day and say, "Wow, thank you."

Q5 - Could it be that simple?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - I'm sure you're still counting down the days to Channuka.... Have you seen our recommended books and toys for kids of all ages?
PPS - Yes, once again this week this message contains a new easter egg....

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